Medal Fatigue

Although the gold medal of the Nobel Peace Prize bears the motto PRO PACE ET FRATERNITATE GENTIUM (For Peace and the Brotherhood of Nations), the selection of the recipient often triggers sniping from those who disagree with the choice. The fusillade is heaviest, however, when the committee chooses not to recognize an achieved peace but to promote ongoing negotiations. And as honored as the prize is, its clout does not always ensure success.

Take the 1973 prize, which was awarded to U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and North Viet Nam's Le Duc Tho for "negotiating an end to the war...

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